A couple of years ago, Microsoft changed their mobile tactic. Until then, the company had encouraged customers and developers to use their own platforms over the years as these offered the best experience when connecting to Microsoft’s other technologies. In other words, for the customer who wanted or needed to use Microsoft Exchange, OneDrive or Office 365 (as just three examples), the Windows Phone platform offered the best experience. Microsoft’s problem was that despite pouring considerable time and money into Windows Phone, the platform had not captured the hearts and minds of the majority of smartphone users in the world. Market penetration remained firmly below 10% despite over four years of efforts and Microsoft even buying their own manufacturer, Nokia. As such, only a small number of smartphone customers could access the Microsoft services in the best way and this was not encouraging users to sign up. People wanted to use Microsoft services on their iPhone or Android device.
Since then, Microsoft have reconsidered their stance on applications, services, operating systems and the concept of the “best experience.” We have seen Microsoft’s applications available on the Android platform dramatically improve; the Microsoft Office productivity application works particularly well although it benefits considerably from a subscription to Office 365. Similarly, OneDrive and EverNote have been improved. We have also seen Microsoft buying businesses and this time last year, announced a partnership with Cyanogen, the company forking Android with an intention to remove control of Android from Google. Given how Android is the market leading mobile operating system, Microsoft’s change in strategy is perfectly reasonable and smacks of: “if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em.” We may yet see a very Microsoft-laden fork of Android being released in the coming months.
Meanwhile, today’s report concerns Microsoft’s digital assistant, Cortana. The Cortana application was released for Android some time ago and as with the other applications from the Microsoft stable, it (she) has been upgraded and improved over the months. Microsoft have just released a fix for the Cortana application designed to resolve the reminder synchronisation issues within the Cortana widget. The update is being rolled out via the Google Play Store, bringing the version to 22.214.171.1241, so if you have the Cortana application on your device and have yet to receive the update, go ahead and openthe Google Play Store to check if it is available for you. Microsoft’s release notes on the Play Store do not mention any other improvements or fixes.